A New Kind of Family

All her life, Kristie has known she wants to help kids.

That’s why she decided six years ago to become a respite caregiver for LSI’s Services for People with Disabilities. Throughout the week, Kristie cares for children in her area on a part-time basis, giving their families a break for a few hours that day.

But for Kristie, respite care is more than just a job. It’s a time for her to be with family.

Kristie serves several kids with disabilities through respite care, but one in particular is making a difference in her day-to-day life.

Kristie has cared for Trevor since she began working with LSI. Trevor stays one night with her family most weekends, and during many weeknights, he hangs out and eats dinner with Kristie’s family.

“He gets to come over and go to sporting events, or go camping, or go to family functions with us,” Kristie says. “A lot of times, we take him out and about. He likes to interact with my own children, who are about the same age.”

Trevor enjoys playing with Kristie’s kids, getting out in the community, or even walking the family dogs around the neighborhood.

Kristie says Trevor’s time with her family is a bright spot her kids too. Trevor is blind, and Kristie’s children are patient and compassionate in their interactions with him.

“They help him get around and sometimes argue over who gets to help him,” Kristie says. “They’ve been with him all this time, and they’re learning, too.”

The whole family has created a strong bond with Trevor, and even extended family members consider him as “one of the kids.”

“It’s nice when my stepdad is having a birthday party and he says, ‘Please make sure you have Trevor that night so he can come, too.’ He’s part of the family, and he likes our family,” Kristie says. “Trevor knows all our voices and can identify with each of them.”

While her full-time job often requires Kristie to work with other adults, her respite hours are a chance for her to do what she finds most fulfilling and make sure Trevor feels welcome and loved.

“Respite care has been a great outlet for me and my kids, and I’ve developed a relationship with Trevor’s family,” Kristie says. “And it gives me an opportunity to work with kids and still be able to do things with my own family. It doesn’t interfere with my life. It adds to it.”

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